A magnificent waterfall is seen at the Huanghuacheng Great Wall Reservoir in Beijing's Huairou district on July 18, 2021, after heavy rain battered the capital. (YANG DONG / FOR CHINA DAILY)
China will reinforce 19,400 unsafe reservoirs and create a long-term mechanism for safety assessment by the end of 2025, the Ministry of Water Resources announced recently.
Of those requiring reinforcement, 80 are classed as mega-sized, 470 as medium-sized and 18,800 as small, Liu Weiping, vice-minister of water resources, told a news conference in Beijing.
China has more than 98,000 reservoirs, most small, and many in need of reinforcement.
They are vital to flood control and disaster relief, water supply and agricultural irrigation.
"As China's existing reservoirs were mostly built from the 1950s to the 1970s, many have gradually become unsafe," Liu said.
"This year in particular, China experienced relatively severe floods, and many reservoirs, especially small ones, were affected. Reinforcement and risk control has become a top priority."
The issue has attracted top leadership attention. In March, the State Council released a notice emphasizing its importance.
According to Liu, over the next five years, the Ministry of Water Resources will step up safety assessments, as well as hazard removal and reinforcement.
As of 2020, 97.2 billion yuan had been spent on reinforcing and removing hazards from 69,000 small reservoirs, and another 3.25 billion yuan on maintenance.
Yang Xinyu, head of the ministry's finance department, said a further 24.52 billion yuan will be invested over the next five years mainly for hazard removal, reinforcement and maintenance, adding that reservoir safety is a priority for both the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Finance.
"Budgets have increased by 25 percent, compared to last year. This is for the safety of reservoirs but also the safety of people and properties," he emphasized.